Response to different benznidazole doses in animal models of chronic phase Chagas disease: a critical review
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Chagas disease is a protozoan infection that was identified over a century ago. No drugs are available to treat the indeterminate and determinate chronic phases of the disease. Success of a drug design is dependent on correct biological evaluation. Concerning new drug designs for Chagas disease, it is essential to first identify the most effective, existing, experimental chronic protocols that can be used for comparison purposes. Here, we present a literature review regarding experimental models with chronic Chagas disease to evaluate the efficacy of benznidazole (BZN). We searched literature published in PubMed and Web of Science databases, using these keywords: animal model, BZN, Chagas disease, T. cruzi, and chronic phase, with no timeframe limitations. We excluded articles involving acute phase animal models and/or those without BZN treatment. The selected studies were conducted using different BZN concentrations (10mg-100mg) involving several different periods (5-70 days). Concentrations and durations of use are directly related to side effects, but do not prevent chronic tissue lesions. BZN use during the late/chronic phases of Chagas disease is unable to eliminate amastigote forms present in infected tissues. This study suggests the administration of a lower BZN concentration (<100mg/kg/day) during the chronic phase of the animal model, as this had been reported to result in fewer side effects.